Unto This Last

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Cosimo, Inc., Dec 1, 2006 - Business & Economics - 104 pages
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One of the most astonishingly versatile British writers of the 19th century, art critic JOHN RUSKIN (1819-1900) held a profound sway on European painting and architecture of the 19th and 20th centuries...but he was also a vital influence on the ideals of the later British Labour party, on Gandhi's peaceful revolution, and on our modern notions of charity and charitable organizations. In this 1862 collection of essays, Ruskin lays out his humanist theory of economics and calls for government intervention in the economy to serve values of social justice, of morality, and of higher aesthetics. Ahead of its time and still of great significance today, this is an inspiring vision of how government and culture might work together for the betterment of all. _______________________ ALSO FROM COSIMO Ruskin's Sesame and Lilies: Three Lectures
 

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Page 8 - The largest quantity of work will not be done by this curious engine for pay, or under pressure, or by help of any kind of fuel which may be supplied by the chaldron. It will be done only when the motive force, that is to say, the will or spirit of the creature, is brought to its greatest strength by its own proper fuel; namely, by the affections.

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About the author (2006)

Ruskin was one of the most influential man of letters of the nineteenth century. An only child, Ruskin was born in Surrey. He attended Christ Church, Oxford, from 1839 to 1842. His ties to his parents, especially his mother, were very strong, and she stayed with him at Oxford until 1840, when, showing ominous signs of consumption, he left for a long tour of Switzerland and the Rhineland with both parents. His journeys to France, Germany, and, especially, Italy formed a great portion of his education. Not only did these trips give him firsthand exposure to the art and architecture that would be the focus of much of his long career; they also helped shape what he felt was his main interest, the study of nature. Around this time Ruskin met the landscape artist J. M. W. Turner, for whose work he had developed a deep admiration and whom he lauded in his Modern Painters (1843). In 1848 Ruskin married Euphemia (Effie) Gray, a distant cousin 10 years his junior. This relationship has been the focus of much scholarship, for six years later the marriage was annulled on the grounds of nonconsummation, and in 1855 Effie married John Everett Millais, the Pre-Raphaelite painter and an acquaintance of Ruskin. During the years 1849--52, Ruskin lived in Venice, where he pursued a course of architectural studies, publishing The Seven Lamps of Architecture (1849) and where he began The Stones of Venice (1851--53). It was also during this period that Ruskin's evangelicalism weakened, leading finally to his "unconversion" at Turin in 1858. His subsequent interest in political economy was clearly stated when, echoing his "hero," Carlyle, Ruskin remarked in the last volume of Modern Painters that greed is the deadly principle that guides English life. In a series of essays in Cornhill Magazine attacking the "pseudo-science" of political economists like J. S. Mill, David Ricardo, and Thomas Malthus, Ruskin argues that England should base its "political economy" on a paternalistic, Christian-based doctrine instead of on competition. The essays were not well received, and the series was canceled short of completion, but Ruskin published the collected essays in 1862 as Unto This Last. At the same time, he renewed his attacks on the political economists in Fraser's Magazine, later publishing these essays as Munera Pulveris (1872). From about 1862 until his death, Ruskin unsuccessfully fought depression. He was in love with Rose La Touche, whom he met when she was 11 and he 41. When she turned 18, Ruskin proposed, but the her parents opposed the marriage, and religious differences (she was devout; Ruskin was at this time a freethinker) kept them from ever marrying. La Touche died in 1875, insane, and three years later Ruskin experienced the first of seven attacks of madness that would plague him over the next 10 years. By 1869 Ruskin had accepted the first Slade Professorship of Fine Art at Oxford, begun his serial Fors Clavigera, been sued and found guilty of libel for his attack on Whistler in Fors Clavigera (he was fined a farthing), and resigned his professorship. Ruskin's work was instrumental in the formation of art history as a modern discipline. A capable artist, he complemented his technical understanding of art with insightful analysis and passionately held social ideals. His social writings are of interest today primarily as artifacts of the age, but his art criticism still holds an important place, especially in his appreciation of Turner. There is a vast number of works on Ruskin. From a literary standpoint, John Rosenberg's study, although dated because of many of its assumptions, is still an outstanding book. Jay Fellows's work is interesting and has caused much controversy among Ruskin scholars.

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